TODAY -

The Experience

Mutum Bindiyarani *

 Tiddim road towards Bishenpur  in 2011
Tiddim road towards Bishenpur in 2011 :: Pix - Jinendra Maibam



Being brought up in a city-like town ('city like' because that was the only town in the state), it was always an interesting experience to go to my father's village about 25kms away from the city. If you lived in a small state like mine, you'll definitely know the difference of 2 kms, which is not much for the big city dwellers as I've come to realize now that I study in a metro city, but in those days, as a 13 year old, the frog in the tiniest pond, it made a lot of difference.

I am from Imphal, the capital city of a small state in the border of the country called Manipur in Northeast India. It is inhabited by approximately 2 million people, the last time I checked in Wikipedia, which was not a very long time ago.

More popular for her constant "disturbance" (underground activities and rebels), Manipur is a small state also known for her sport-persons representing the nation in recent times, our dear Mary Kom if one can recall. What one doesn't know is that if you get past the hard walnut shell, you can get to see the delicate breadth-taking scenery and exotic culture of the State.

My father being a non practicing doctor had a lot of time for the five of us. Growing up, he was my best friend and guide. He was for there all of us, other than my brother, who, as usual for all the male species, was closer to my mother, a nurse in the same hospital where dad worked.

I was just about to turn 13 when my grandfather fell sick and was admitted in the hospital where my parents worked. He was admitted to the ICCU (Intensive coronary care unit) after a severe heart attack. And I can proudly tell you that I did not have to "google" ICCU because the five of us were well hospital-educated. Biology ran in the blood, although it might be amusing if I tell you that other than my eldest sister, the other four of us ended in engineering. and architecture field, myself belonging to the later.

What more can be expected when you happen to be a premature baby who also happens to be "cold-allergic" is born in the region where average temperature remains below 20 degrees? You fall sick most days, and get to bunk school and home work most of the time!

Now that I've finished giving all the background information required for anyone to understand this story, it'll be better for me to get back to the topic before one gets bored of this rant.

My father's native place is a village named Oinam. And reaching there used to take around 50 mins. Although it was only 20kms far and considering that we travelled in our personal car, the pit stops in between for the customary fruits and medicines mom and dad used to buy for everyone, took us quite some time.

There was a general conception that the 'doctor son' -the city-dweller, would generally come loaded with tablets and bottles of sweet medicines everytime he'd come to visit and also conduct a pseudo medical camp. Our visit would generally begin with my mom waking me up from my nap, dad used to drive "nap-speed", as he used to say, sliding along the road. But to be honest, he could also pull off nasty driving, when he would drop us for tuitions, my friends used to call him F1 uncle.

We would be ushered into the small mud bamboo house of my grandparents where my grandmother would serve us tea. It would come from the kitchen, 'come' because the kitchen, as according to the old customs of our people, would be constructed separately from the house, and in our case, it was about 15m away from the house with a vegetable patch in between. There was also a "sangoi" a covered semi open structure customarily utilized for the family functions and an entertainment space for visitors.

Grandmother would prepared lunch, consisting of rice, Dal, fresh water fish and usually a chilli "chutney". She was an amazing cook, even my mother used to admit it, which is quite something she rarely does.

Let me clarify something here, we do not eat snakes and frogs, a common misconception among my main land Indian friends. An irony, if you considered the fact that we are Hindu, we live in India, beside that we call them "Indians", because the evolutionary road gave us shorter noses and smaller eyes and fairer skin, we are called mongoloids or in the common language, "chinky".

This was the general norm which would be followed. We'd have the scrumptious meal, roam around the vegetable patches and bamboo groves in awe… And sometimes if we were lucky to find our uncle at home, we would be taken out to the fish farms, 'lucky' because it involved a boat-ride down the stream across the fields, in which my hydro-phobic sister would scream and shout in the canoe, if we happened to 'accidentally' rock it sideways. :P

As a city girl, I rarely knew village life.

This little fact changed when I (sad but true) had a weeklong stay there for the ceremonial activities when my grandfather passed away. Honestly, I never knew my grandfather on the personal front other than the stories about him I hear from my eldest sister who is 10 yrs older than me. More so because she was brought up by my grandparents until she was in primary school.

An imbedded idea of the state to outsiders is that it is a hilly region and it takes hours of explanation for them to realise that although it basically is a hill country, beyond the mythical 7 layers of hill lies the plateau of Imphal, Moirang, where there is one of the largest fresh water lake of northeast in which ancient gods would boat in their canoes. With a view of distant hills all around the landscape and a few tall buildings dotting the town-scape, where one can actually see the shadows of clouds on the stark green hills.

I was woken up from my slumber at 4 a.m in the morning by my mother. As I clambered out from the cramped up bed where 4 of us were sleeping, I saw there was only a faint light. There was no electricity the whole day, as I came to know later, except for 2hrs during the day, during which the families with inverters would charge the batteries and children would watch some cartoon network. Those days, there were no disney xd or pogo or anything as such.

As my mother dragged me and my sister out from the bed to the backyard, the horror I felt , is still etched in my mind, when I saw 2-3 bedsheets hung near the tap to make up for the non-existent permanent bathroom and a bucket of boiling hot water next to it.

There would be visible steam coming out of our mouths and blocked noses as we came back to the hut trembling and with chattering teeth at 6 degrees in the early January morning. There was a small iron pot that we call 'meiphu" containing burning charcoal around which every living organism with a working brain would be huddled, including the house cat. One would think a feline lover like me, would naturally sit near the cat, but I was showering more love, I deposited it on my lap to give myself a little more space but also cheating the heat out of the warm and cuddly cat.

Tea would be made in large pots and being the youngest in the family made me responsible to serve it to the guest and family. Carrying a tray of assorted glasses and cups around, bare feet, on the frozen mud floor, seemed to awaken a lot of nerve cells I earlier never knew existed but at the sometime ceased their existence due to extensive walking and catering. For the first time in my life, I learnt the value of a half glass of hot tea which I finally got to devour down my jammed throat, I could feel the scorched path they inscribed.

This continued for the whole week, where I got to learn, that I have so many relatives, and so many more people who never knew my existence were it not for the ceremony. Saw my father crying at the last rites, and as a child who did not know her grandfather properly, instead, could not help shedding a tear at my father's loss. Feeling a fierce protectiveness and getting numb thinking how I'd feel if I lost my own.

Leaving the Village life and settling back to school and town home was quite easy for me. But the occasional chirping birds in the morning and load shedding (more often than not) at home would remind me of the people back in the village, living a simple life, sleeping early as soon as daylight faded over the horizon, waking up early, hoping for a better future and a better life.


* Mutum Bindiyarani wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is currently pursuing Undergraduate Degree in Kolkata and can be contacted at bindiya(dot)mutum(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on May 07, 2014.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Kakching Garden :: 360 Panorama View
  • Folk Dance Festival #5 : Gallery
  • Kailam Sanctuary threaten to displace tribes
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Kuki-Zomi Insurgency in Manipur #3
  • Prof L Janmejay: Reminiscence as teacher
  • In The Annals of Time :: Poem
  • 128th Birth Anniversary of Ho Chi Minh
  • Challenges to Digital India initiatives
  • Pressing issues before the Govt
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Governor's Taekwondo Cup: Gallery
  • Entrepreneurship in the context of Manipur
  • Face scrubs to avoid dirt this summer
  • Ah, me - Now Happy, Now Sad :: Poem
  • Rio assures of co-existence with neighbours
  • Nandeshwore- President, Manipur, RJSP
  • 'PDA Govt is functioning smoothly'
  • SC voices displeasure at defence ministry
  • Manipur NPF differs with Shurho over BJP
  • Khangkhui Cave, Ukhrul #2: Gallery
  • Chhungthianhoih, Agui :: eMing
  • Identity crisis : @Somorendra Lecture
  • Reflection on Tour of Dubai & Abu Dhabi #2
  • Khangminashi - II : Report
  • Globalization & its impact on our culture
  • District Demand 2011-2018 :: Timeline
  • Dishonouring the Constitution of India
  • From EVM to floor test Onus on BJP
  • Curtain Raising- Sangai Fest 2017: Gallery
  • 4th MCA Plate Tournament : Gallery
  • International Nurses Week #1
  • Story of Silence : @Somorendra Lecture
  • Apiculture (bee-keeping) #2
  • Khangminashi - II : Invitation at Thoubal
  • IBSD-ILS Centre set up in Bhubaneswar
  • Of 3 Ws - Beware
  • Forming the Govt : Office of Governor
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur Fight League Season 1 : Gallery
  • Prison Diary of Lamyanba NK Sanajaoba #3
  • Rights of indigenous people & merger
  • Manipur's tryst for a native Chief Secretary
  • Marxji, Modiji & Birenji
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Reasoning without disparities
  • Regulate movement of auto rickshaws
  • Healing Touch: A case of still to outreach
  • Re-visiting Khangkhui caves in Ukhrul
  • Sandrembi Cheishra :: Book Review
  • Homecoming & Other Stories :: Review
  • Kuki-Zomi Insurgency in Manipur #2
  • Cry of a Dying River - 29 :: Poem
  • Shija Hospitals MOU for RBSK Nagaland
  • Are we waiting for the "Go-dot"
  • Understanding with KSO : Reaching to all
  • NNC observes 67th Naga plebiscite anniv
  • Event on martial art ends
  • Garlic Festival @ Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Dr. Cesarczyk drizzled harmonics in the rain
  • Tlanglhungbung Leikol - Tourist destination
  • Manipulative skill pays in usurping power
  • Khonzel TV : New Manipuri Streaming TV
  • Naturopathy as career option
  • Free Eye Camp at Wangoo
  • Khongjom Day: OK to observe on Apr 23, but
  • Outside Manipur after Class XII
  • TRAU Vs Langsning FC : Gallery
  • Ngasepam Nalini : State Akademi Award
  • Construction of Ima Keithel
  • Dreaming :: Poem
  • Test for dengue fever
  • Home Coming & other Stories : Book [upd]
  • Eco Tourism as alternative to Timber Trade
  • Go to Village - boon .. but a scourge for PRI
  • Citizenship Bill ... on basis of religion!
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Course in Book Publishing at IGNTU, Kpi
  • Reflection on Tour of Dubai & Abu Dhabi #1
  • Gurudev :: Poem
  • Counseling to Delhi University Aspirants
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Apiculture (bee-keeping) #1
  • Entrepreneur find ways to recycle plastic
  • Social impacts of Mapithel dam
  • Cyber crime defined: The Bhopal case
  • Timber banned but no ban on firewood
  • Traffic chaos : Regulate not ban entry !
  • Cheiraoba Thabal by LGBTQ #2 : Gallery
  • Culturals @Shirui Lily Fest : Gallery
  • Kuki-Zomi Insurgency in Manipur #1
  • Civil Service as a career option
  • The plight of education in Manipur
  • Appeal to Stop Oil Exploration
  • TechExpo at IIT Guwahati
  • Awaiting- a light at end of the tunnel
  • Wanted : Responses not reactions
  • Kabo Valley: A brief history
  • 'Autonomous Naga council'- a major hurdle
  • Cry of a Dying River - 28 :: Poem
  • Admission :: SAIRAM college at Patsoi
  • Khangminashi :: Lecture series at KKT
  • CASO conducted at Mantripukhri
  • PRI & the Mission- "Go to Village"
  • Final pact likely soon : Stand of CSOs
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #2 : Gallery
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • A village "wall" a destruction for others
  • Thank you Mangaal Rural...
  • Lack of proper investigation- minor girl case
  • Nagaland Cong shelved plans to contest LS
  • Employment drive through Afforestation
  • Bid to attract the brightest
  • A. Halim Chowdhury: A Profile
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #1: Gallery
  • Occupational hazards of journalists
  • Election: The greatest weapon of the people
  • Community Gardening in memory of Belinda
  • Politicians need a thorough headbanging
  • Beauty essentials for your holiday
  • NPF will not attend meeting..
  • A view on "Go to Village" Mission
  • Littering Shirui peak after Lily Fest
  • Polo ground & institute in Manipur
  • Khangkhui Cave, Ukhrul #1: Gallery
  • Dance competition @MANFETE #2 : Gallery
  • Bracing for monsoon madness
  • When I'm sick :: Poem
  • 1949: Story of India's Takover of Manipur
  • You can't defile a Judge like that
  • Legal provisions for misusing Social Media
  • Bill for non-local: Need to learn from 2015
  • Heart OPD Camp at Youth Club Brahmapur
  • Flood in Imphal [06 May ] : Gallery
  • Gudui Ngai @ Ragailong : Gallery
  • Ode to Inle (in Myanmar) #2
  • AFSPA Repeal from Meghalaya, Arunachal
  • Reclamation of eutrophicated water bodies
  • Hey smartphone! Free me from your spell
  • Job Positions at VITSOFTS, Canchipur
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #1 : Gallery
  • Phumdigi Tantha Dance Drama : Synopsis
  • Speaker List at Seminar on Atomic Energy
  • The making of village republics
  • The Sunset Blues :: Poem
  • Rio for development on eastern corridor
  • Welcomes decision on mini hornbills
  • Good show only from Imphal
  • 'ZB (AMN) President creating confusion'
  • Zeme Nagas aggrieved at 'non-inclusion'
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Prison Diary of Lamyanba NK Sanajaoba #1
  • Communal Harmony in a Multicultural ..
  • Community Gardening Event at Ema Keithel
  • Usurped Domain
  • Fruit stalls : Who gave them the license ?
  • 60 best social media practices
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #1 : Gallery
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • HSE Result 2018 : District Wise
  • HSE Result 2018 : Highest Marks
  • HSE Result 2018 : Science Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Arts Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Commerce Stream
  • Scholarship for Civil Aspirants : Gallery
  • The Streets Of Imphal
  • Civil Aspirants Scholarship Announcement
  • Vandalizing of fruit seller- protecting identity
  • Free Heart OPD Camp at Manipur University
  • Go to Village Mission: Another first for Govt
  • Khongjom Day - April 23 #2 : Gallery
  • 16 out of 18 clears IIT/JEE Mains
  • RIST Talk-36 : Enchanting Light of Firefly
  • Cry of a Dying River - 27 :: Poem
  • World Veterinary Day - 2018
  • Halt oil exploration work in Manipur
  • Snakebites and Uniformed Saviours
  • SRDP funds: NDPP calls for investigation
  • National PR Day at Guwahati
  • The only way towards salvation
  • Haudonggi Lamchat :: Funga Wari
  • Mukada: Eroding Festival of Kharam Tribe
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #2 : Gallery
  • 'Go To Village mission' launched at Yaiskul
  • Quality assurance management as career
  • Test for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
  • UCM, MPP making clear their stand
  • Kh Sanjita & Saikhom Mirabai :: Gallery
  • May Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • How India Restrain NE Extremist Outfits
  • Liangmai disassociate from Zeliangrong #2
  • Climbing the Shirui Hills #1 : Gallery
  • NE Guide to Thailand : Gallery
  • Prof N Irabanta : Doyen of Aerobiology
  • Paintings @Imphal Art Camp : Gallery
  • Opening: Shirui Lily Festival : Gallery
  • Floral tributes to PLA members #3 : Gallery
  • Ode to Inle (in Myanmar) #1
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • TRAU Vs Bengaluru FC #2 : Gallery
  • 'HUN' Thadou Cultural Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Khongjom Day - April 23 #1 : Gallery
  • Northeast Indian Guide to Thailand
  • Teinem Luira Phanit #2: Gallery
  • Naorem Kalimohon Singh : A Profile
  • Cheiraoba @ Kolkata : Gallery
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa [14 Apr] : Gallery
  • Md Awaysh Khan: Mr. India : Gallery
  • Mahesh Thounaojam #2 : eRang Photos
  • Mnipur Ima :: Seireng
  • Tributes to Khelen Thokchom : Gallery
  • Sanakhya Ebotombi Haorokcham: Biography
  • PM Narendra Modi @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Enakta Leiringei (Film) #2 :: eRang
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS